As a medical student, we recognize much is happening academically in addition to balancing competing priorities. This section is for you to get firsthand content and information about how vital the specialty of pathology is from the leading organization of board-certified pathologists and our members.
We welcome you to become part of our community and learn how pathologists are central to patient care.
CAP Members on #WhyPathology
Why Choose a Pathology Career
The following are some commonly cited reasons for entering the field of pathology:
- It’s challenging and rewarding. Every day, pathologists draw on their extensive medical knowledge to identify and diagnose disease processes that help determine the management and care for patients.
- There’s great work-life balance. No other specialty offers such a flexible schedule with possibilities for a well-blended lifestyle.
- You use cutting-edge tools and AI. Pathology is leading the evolution of modern medicine through genomics, digital pathology, and AI/machine learning.
- You work with a multidisciplinary team. As part of the diagnostic team, you’ll work with other pathologists, physicians, and, in many cases, directly with patients.
- You contribute to advancements in science and medicine. You’ll find a diverse field of opportunities in academic research, private practice, biotech industries, teaching, and more.
Fast Facts on Pathologists
This dynamic and growing specialty has much to offer, as evidenced by the following statistics.
- The average annual pathologist salary is $316,000 (2021 Medscape Physician Compensation Report).
- Pathology encompasses 11 subspecialties to choose from.
- The average pathologist hourly workweek is 49.2 hours (2021 Medscape Physician Compensation Report).
- Roughly 46% of practices are looking to hire pathologists (2019 CAP Practice Leader Survey).
- Pathology is consistently among the top specialties for workplace happiness and among the lowest for burnout (2018 AMA Survey).
- Download Pathology 101 to learn more about training to practice in the field.
Latest News and Events
Congratulations to the 2022 CAP Distinguished Medical Student Award Winners
The CAP Distinguished Medical Student Award recognizes distinguished medical students in their quests for pathology knowledge and engagement, with a goal of elevating the stature of the field of pathology and demonstrating the commitment to attracting top medical students into the field.
This year, the second year of the award, 23 medical students from across the US have been nominated by physicians at their institutions to be recognized by the CAP. Learn more.
"What I Wish I Knew in Medical School" Live Panel
Residents and new-in-practice pathologists shared about how they developed good study habits, found a mentor, perfected the delicate work-life balance, and more during this live panel discussion.
Ready for Pathology? (Virtual Discussion)
Experts in the field provided insight and answered questions on what a career in pathology entails. View the recording.
View the recording
Anatomic and Clinical Pathology
Valerie A. Lockhart, MD MBA, FCAP shared an overview of anatomic and clinical pathology.
Download the presentation
Resources on Pathology
Our resident members authored, researched, interviewed, and videoed on why pathology is a rewarding specialty.
James Gill, MD, is a forensic pathologist, chief medical examiner of Connecticut, a clinical associate professor in pathology at Yale and chair of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Forensic Pathology Committee. Dr. Gill answered questions about the ins and outs of forensic pathology and the experts of the field.
From being central to patient care, at the front lines of cutting-edge technologies, and offering a wide scope of practice, this video explores the top five reasons why medical students should pursue a career in pathology.
The specialty of pathology is often a mystery to medical students. This article brings to light the truths surrounding the top five myths about pathology.
Leveraging data to show positive trends when it comes to finding a job in pathology and compensation, now is a great time to be a job-seeking pathologist.
In this video, CAP resident members share how they define pathology and why they are pathologists. You can also listen to an interview with educator Dr. Husain Sattar.
You can also download a PDF containing facts and stats on the specialty of pathology and its practitioners.
Apply for a Medical Student Travel Award
The CAP Foundation's Medical Student Travel Award funds up to $1,200 for medical students’ travel expenses to attend a Residents Forum meeting. Awardees are paired with a Residents Forum delegate to help them:
- Learn more about the specialty of pathology and residency training programs.
- Broaden their understanding of the role pathologists play on the health care team.
- Create networking opportunities with our members.
The CAP offers medical students interested in the specialty of pathology opportunities for engagement with CAP members. Join the Medical Student Forum to receive the following benefits:
- Access to CAP member-only content.
- An invitation to attend (with complimentary registration) the CAP Spring and Fall Residents Forum. Air travel, hotel, and non-group meal functions are the responsibility of the medical student.
- Online community with pathology residents to include live webinars and CAP Chats.
- Subscriptions to CAP TODAY and Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Careers in Pathology
We encourage medical students to consider an exciting and rewarding career in pathology. Our career center distinguishes itself from other job boards in a number of ways:
- Ability to post resumes and applications anonymously, enabling candidates to stay connected to the career center while maintaining full control over their confidential information.
- Advanced job alert system that notifies a candidate of new opportunities matching criteria pre-selected according to the candidate's desired postings.
- Access to industry-specific jobs—and top-quality candidates—infrequently seen on the mass job boards.
Pathology Interest Groups
Several universities have pathology interest groups that raise awareness about pathology among medical students as to the crucial role pathologists play in medical practice.
If you are interested in starting a pathology interest group at your medical school, or would like to have yours listed, please send us an email.